Federal Minister Westerwelle to open German-Norwegian Energy Workshop

Germany`s  Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and his  Norwegian counterpart,  Jonas Gahr Støre will open a German-Norwegian expert workshop on renewable energies in Bonn today.

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Norway holds 50% of West European oil and gas reserves and is Germany’s second largest energy supplier.

Foreign ministers of  the two countries launched the German-Norwegian energy partnership in 2006 to provide momentum for the further development of renewable energy sources.

Friday’s workshop will focus particularly on wind power.

German-Norwegian energy relations in figures

In 2008, Norway accounted for 21.9% of German oil and natural gas imports (Russia was the leading supplier with 32.5%, while Britain was third with 9.8%).

Germany is the fourth largest importer of Norwegian crude oil (behind Britain, the Netherlands and France), which has been exported solely to EU countries to date.

Britain takes the largest share of Norway’s natural gas exports, with Germany in second place.

Given the rising demand for energy and the imminent exhaustion of Britain’s own oil and gas reserves, there is increasing competition for Norway’s energy resources.

International energy companies are therefore interested in long-term contracts and have intensive business dealings with Norway.

Thanks to the stable environment, the country offers, however, it is also possible for smaller energy companies seeking ways to circumvent the major regional monopolies to look for partners in Norway.

German-Norwegian collaborative professorships the core project of the energy partnership

The German-Norwegian energy partnership is the result of an initiative launched by Foreign Ministers Steinmeier and Støre in 2006.

The partnership’s central project is the establishment of German-Norwegian collaborative professorships under the auspices of the two Foreign Ministers.

The idea was first conceived in 2006 and fleshed out in talks between the Technical University of Clausthal and the University of Stavanger. With Germany’s EWE and Norway’s Lyse Energi as project sponsors, funding for the professorships is guaranteed for at least five years.

The professorship project was launched in Stavanger on 18 June under the auspices of the two Foreign Ministers.

The German and Norwegian professorships will collaborate closely on energy research, focusing on the following six areas:

  1. Use of the geological underground (oil and gas exploration, production and storage; geothermal energy; CO2 storage facilities)
  2. Decentralized power generation on the basis of renewable energies
  3. Clean coal technologies (efficient capture and storage of CO2)
  4. Energy storage
  5. Power distribution grids
  6. Energy efficiency

Oil and gas have made Norway prosperous

Norway has around 50% of Western Europe’s oil and natural gas reserves and accounts for approx. 3.1% of world natural gas production and 3.8% of world oil production.

As the world’s fifth largest oil exporter and third largest natural gas exporter, it is clearly an important international player in the energy sector.

Unlike many energy producers, Norway has managed its oil and gas responsibly and with political wisdom. Incomes are high, the infrastructure is impressive, public finances are sound and there is a regular budget surplus.

Since 1998 a large part of its oil and gas revenues have been managed in the so-called Petroleum Fund (since 2006 Government Pension Fund – Global), which, in an inflation-neutral way, invests around the world in equities and bonds in roughly equal proportions.

Norway uses little of the fossil fuel it produces itself, preferring clean hydropower to oil as a primary source of energy. Hydropower accounts for almost 99% of its electricity production.

The Government has launched a new initiative to develop bioenergy. The country has no nuclear power stations and coal plays only an insignificant role.